Saturday, 20 September 2014

Frustration

I have had no internet connection since yesterday (Friday) afternoon.  TTNet as usual cannot tell me when the problem will be fixed.

Mr A was supposed to be having a rare day off on Sunday, but decided to take yesterday instead.  He had received a phone call from the doctor who visits the village once a week with a message from the devlet hospital, saying that I needed to go there with proof of rabies vaccination for the dog that bit me on 13th.  If I didn't turn up, the the police would come to get me.

We visited the hospital, had the paperwork checked, and established that I didn't need to continue with the rabies vaccinations.  However, I was informed that the belediye (council) vet would be visiting our house to check out the dog.  If only they could show this amount of concern for the street dogs, who are not vaccinated, rather than my dogs who are.

I'm not criticising the system.  It's good that they are trying to prevent the spread of rabies, but surely the priority should be to vaccinate the street dogs who are most at risk.

And the village dogs...who the Muhtar said had been collected by the Belediye?  Well it seems he was lying.  I have been awake most of the night because some of the village dogs have been running up and down past our house.  So they are still here.  My feeling is that the Muhtar wanted to stop Mr A complaining.  By saying they had gone, he assumed I would stop putting down food for them, and that they would just go away.  Well they haven't...and I will continue to feed them until we are able to solve the problem.  How we will do that, I have no idea at the moment.

In spite of regular flea treatments, Monty and Tommy have fleas...lots of them.  I showered and shampood them yesterday, flea combed, and applied more treatment.  This morning I will do the same with the three pups.  Monty has been scratching his ear all night and it's very sore.  I have cleaned it and applied ear drops.  He has sensitive skin so perhaps this was caused by the shampoo.  If it doesn't clear up, we'll see the vet.

Because Mr A has been here since yesterday, I have been able to connect my laptop to his mobile phone to use the internet.  That in itself wasn't easy...very frustrating, because neither of us are particularly computer literate, and with much trial and error we did it.   But he will be back to work in an hour or so, and then I will be disconnected again.  TTNet are useless.  I phoned three times yesterday, and they know nothing.  They tell you nothing.  They just say they have reported it to the engineers...thanks for calling....have a nice day....aaargh!

Just to top it all, frustration and tiredness have as usual made me clumsy.  I tripped up the balcony step and bruised my leg, dropped my mobile phone twice (luckily no damage), and spilt a whole cup of coffee on the cream coloured carpet in the sitting room.   Oh and I discovered the chicken I bought in Milas yesterday for dinner was off, so we ended up with just roasted vegetables.

Maybe today will be better...it certainly can't get much worse.

See you soon....I hope!

Friday, 19 September 2014

Never give up

No sooner do I do a blog post today saying I have nothing to write about, than I get some news.

Those of you who follow my blog regularly will know that Mr A has been persistently badgering the manager of Milas council concerning the dogs in our village.  For months Mr A has put pressure on the manager to push the council vet to do the job he is supposed to do, and that is to implement the TNR programme (trap, neuter and release).  We were getting nowhere with this vet.  Our village has become the responsibility of Milas council since the beginning of the year, and we did manage to get two female dogs from the industrial estate spayed with the council vet at the end of last winter.  The vet had promised to neuter one dog a week, but he didn't honour his promise.

Since then we have taken several dogs that were most vulnerable to the Milas shelter ourselves.  In the meantime, I continued to feed the dogs in the village, and Mr A continued to apply pressure on the council....at one point even taking the problem to the Governor of Mugla Province.

This week as usual I have been going down into the village every other morning to feed the dogs.  During the school holidays they were to be found in the school playground.  However, the children started back at school this week, so the dogs had been chased away at the end of last week.  Last weekend was the last time I saw all the dogs.  They were on waste ground opposite the school.   When I went down on Tuesday morning, there was just one dog.  I fed her, and left the remaining food for the others should they appear later.

This morning there were no dogs at all.  I left the food in the usual place.  Mr A has been trying to ring the Muhtar to find out where the dogs are.  It seems the Muhtar has also been trying to contact him, but they keep missing each other.

Finally this evening Mr A came home and spoke to the Muhtar.  The dogs were all collected this week by Milas council and taken to the shelter.  We have been informed that they will all be neutered and vaccinated and at some point returned to the village.

I can't quite believe this has happened.  It's what we had hoped for, and I guess I won't really believe it until the dogs reappear with their eartags to indicate they have been neutered.  If/when we reach that point, we will continue to feed them regularly (every day throughout the winter) and keep them healthy.

Meanwhile, we will be looking out for any other dogs that arrive in the village.  It's not unusual to find them dumped here.  When that happens we will take them to the Milas shelter ourselves if we can.

The next challenge will be to get the Milas vet to neuter as many of the industrial estate dogs as possible.

This work is never-ending.  Sometimes we despair and feel that no-one is listening.   But today we have proved that we should never give up fighting for these dogs.

Our winter feeding programme will commence in earnest at the end of October, and if we are to continue to feed as many strays as possible, we need your help.   If you would like to donate something (no matter how small) please go to the Paypal button at the top of this page.  Thankyou so much to everyone who has donated so far.  I am sure you are as happy as I am to know that we are gradually making progress.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Figs and allergies

It's a week since I last posted and I am finding it so difficult to think of things to write about at the moment.  I do feel though that I have to make an effort or I will give up altogether.

Our fig tree is producing lots of fruit now, but I'm unable to use as much of it as I'd like to.  I am allergic to fig leaves.  If my skin touches them I come out in an itchy rash.  I've tried wearing long sleeves and latex gloves, but somehow my skin reacts and I still get a rash.

I picked as many as I could last week and made several pots of fig jam.  I have also had to cut back some of the branches because Melek is climbing up and grabbing the fruit.  She is also trying to jump over the chicken wire into the top garden.   Chas and Dave are watching and attempting to copy her.

Mr A did manage to get here one night this week, very tired, and went straight to sleep.  . He was up at 6.30am and was about to pick some more figs, when we noticed Melek again trying to climb over the fence.  So he spent the next two hours cutting back bigger branches off the fig tree, and fixing chickenwire on  higher posts to stop Melek escaping.

He threw the branches over the fence into the top garden to sort out later.  It wasn't until he had set off for work that I discovered he hadn't secured the gate to the top garden and the three pups and Monty had pushed it open where  I found them an hour later, all tucking into figs.   Needless to say they all had upset stomachs within the next 24 hours!

The weather is still quite hot but noticeably cooler than the past few weeks which is a relief.  It will soon be the end of the season and Mr A will return home.  We don't really know what he will do next.  We have a few ideas but nothing definite.

In the meantime, there is a chance that he will have a whole day off on Sunday.  He did suggest a boat trip from Bodrum, but I really don't like the tourist boat trips, which often consist of loud music and people getting drunk.  If it's still hot we may go to Gulluk and swim.  We'll see.  I'm not making plans because nothing is definite until it actually happens.

So back to allergies.  I've been allergic to penicillin for as long as I can remember, but that's not an unusual allergy.

Is anyone else allergic to fig leaves?    I also get a similar, but milder,  to geranium leaves.  Do you have any  unusual allergies?

Thursday, 11 September 2014

A dog bite and Rabies jabs

Those of you on Facebook may have noticed my status last night.  I was bitten quite badly on my finger by Melek.   It was quite by accident and not her fault.  I was giving the pups a snack around 8.30pm.  I forget how big they are getting and Melek jumped to grab the snack from my hand and got my finger instead.

I had an x-ray at the hospital, a tetanus jab and the first in a course of Rabies jabs.  It's this that is really the purpose of this post.  To make it clear what should happen in Turkey if you get bitten by a dog or cat.

Mr A came over from Bodrum and took me to the small private hospital A&E in Milas centre.   The doctor there said that I must have a rabies jab.  We explained that I was bitten by my dog who, along with all my dogs, has had rabies vaccination.

He said it didn't matter, that latest Government legislation insists we have the rabies jabs anyway, but that they have to be done at the devlet (government) hospitals.  So we set off to the devlet hospital outside Milas.

We also told the doctor there that our dog had been vaccinated.  He said as we had no proof, then I would be given the first jab.  I was given a form with the dates for the remainder of the course, which he said should be done at the devlet hospital outpatients clinic.  However, he did say that if I took the dog's kimlik (pet passport) to the clinic to show proof of vaccination, then I wouldn't have to have the remaining jabs

So I am assuming by all this that if I had thought to take the dog's kimlik with me, then I wouldn't have had to have the 1st jab.  (Although it does slightly contradict what the doctor at the private hospital said).

As usual, nothing in Turkey is completely straightforward, but I would advise anyone who is bitten by a cat or dog and the skin is broken, to get it checked out and if it is an unvaccinated animal, then get the course of rabies jabs.  Apart from the rabies risk, there is always a chance of infection, and tetanus jabs should be done every 10 years.

 If you are bitten by a vaccinated animal, take the kimlik with you to the hospital, and you may avoid the rabies jabs altogether.

Many of you may already know all this, but just in case you don't, I thought it worth mentioning.

My bite wasn't stitched by the way.  The doctor said fingers heal faster without stitches.  I hope this is true, because it actually looks a lot worse today.  I have found a few steristrips in my first aid box, which I am currently using to keep the wound together.   Fingers crossed (excuse the pun) that this does the trick!

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Ignorant village mentality

This was my status on Facebook early yesterday morning, posted in anger as you can probably tell.

"Just trying to feed a hungry street dog outside my house and the neighbour Sevke comes out and starts throwing stones at it. I hate these f***ing people. I then picked up a stone and made it clear if she threw another one, then I would throw one at her.
Then she proceeds to go on and on about my dogs barking last night. Firstly, it was the noise from her loud guests that caused them to bark, and secondly she should be thankful my dogs act as a deterrent to foxes and other predators, and so protect her chickens.
I hate having to deal with all this on my own. These so-called religious people (and she is one) who pray five times a day are bloody hypocrites.
........and breathe!"

There were a lot of angry words exchanged...mine mostly English swear words...which even though she doesn't understand, actually makes me feel a whole lot better.

This dog is a very placid soul.  He is the only one out of the village dogs who actually approaches me when I go to feed them.  He is not scared of me at all.   He is very trusting and perhaps this is his problem.  It makes him an easy target, and I fear for his safety.   He tries to follow me home every time I go to the village but I gently shoo him away.

Yesterday though he made his own way up to the house and sat waiting patiently for me to appear.  I went down to throw some food over the fence at the front of the garden for him,  resulting in the altercation with Sevke.  Her daughter came out and eventually they both went back into their house.

The dog stayed outside all day.  He was no trouble at all.  I made a couple of attempts to bring him into the garden.  I managed to brush him, apply flea treatment and gave him worm tablets, but it was clear that he and the other dogs would not get on, so he was anxious to go outside again.  He lay in the shade of the wall.  Chickens passed him from time to time and he didn't bat an eyelid.  Quite unusual for a street dog as they normally chase chickens.

The biggest problem was when he moved.  This set all 9 of my dogs barking.   This would clearly cause more of a problem with the neighbours so something needed to be done.   I fed him again in the afternoon at the same time as my dogs.   

Mr A planned to come home last night, and then the car broke down.  Fortunately he got a friend to fix it and arrived home around 8.30 pm.  While I was in the shower around 6.30pm I heard all the dogs barking.  I ran to the window and noticed an old lady from up the hill walking down and the dog running away.  I think it's possible she threw stones at him too.

Mr A went to talk to Sevke.  He remained calm, but said that we were not prepared to tolerate her behaviour towards animals.  I think he tried to educate her rather than have a go at her, which resulted in an apology, so obviously this method seems to do the trick.   We'll see...I don't entirely trust her.

He then set off down to the village to search for the dog.  He found him but it seems the dog is afraid of men and Mr A couldn't get near him.  He phoned me and I went down.   I spent half an hour gently stroking him and coaxing him, and managed to get a lead on him.  Then I lifted him into the car.

Mr A then took him to Milas shelter.  Of course it's not ideal.  I would have liked to have kept him, but it just wasn't possible.  At least now he is safer than being in the village.

I shed a lot of tears yesterday.  I don't like confrontation.   I hate the attitude here towards these dogs and I feel so sad and overwhelmed by it all.  But today's another day, and I have to try to get past the bad experiences and move on.


Sunday, 7 September 2014

The chicken war

It was inevitable that the chickens in this village would cause trouble.


There are just far too many of them. 


Dursune, the neighbour to my left is completely over-run with chickens.  The hens have chicks.  The chicks grow up and they have chicks, and so on.  She doesn't eat any of them or dispose of them, and they just run riot.


They are in and out of her garden all day, up and down the hill past our gate, which sets our dogs barking.  She attempts to gather them all up in the afternoon and put them away safely, but some get left behind.  They wander past the gate during the night...which makes the dogs bark...which keeps me awake.


Sevke, to my right, didn't have chickens until her daughter and granddaughter moved in with her last year, and they brought their chickens with them.   The hens have had chicks...they grew up...had chicks...and so on.   The chicks can squeeze through the chickenwire surrounding our garden.   They eat tomato plants, melons, flowers, in fact anything that's edible.   The dogs see them at the top of the garden, and they bark at them.   I have to encourage the chicks back into their own garden for fear that they will come too close to my dogs and the result will be a bloodbath.


There is a woman just down the hill past Dursune's house who also has chickens, who have chicks, who have chicks...well you know the story by now.


This afternoon there was utter confusion down the hill.  This woman's chickens and Dursune's chickens all got together for a bit of socialising.


When it came to both women calling their chickens home, all hell broke loose.  I could hear the raised voices and screaming, and I went down to the front garden to see what was happening.   They were each  accusing the other of trying to steal their chickens.  One would call the chickens whilst the other insisted that they were not hers, and vice versa.


I have no idea how either of them could tell which chickens were theirs...they all look the same to me.


This went on for about 10 minutes, and the chickens, clearly confused by what was happening, all set off in the opposite direction into the garden of a derelict house, which was very overgrown.   Which meant that both Dursune and the other woman had to wade through the weeds and brambles to find them.


That was an hour ago.  I've heard nothing further since......

Thursday, 4 September 2014

The end of the season...

...is just around the corner.  The tourist season that is.  The season lasts longer in
some areas but generally it can be anytime between the end of September and the end of October.


The last time I mentioned Mr A and work on here, he was in Kas, having been back and forth between there and Gumbet.  I find it hard to keep up with his movements so you are forgiven if you don't!


Every summer for the past few years has been the same.  He only manages to secure jobs which  just pay commission, which means having to work 16 or 17 hours a day, 7 days week with little or no time off.


At least when he is in Gumbet he tries to get home once a week, but when he goes further afield it's impossible.


Also every year without fail he exchanges his motorbike for a car, which leaves him having to pay the difference over several months.  And also each year until now, by the time the season finishes, he hasn't earned quite enough, so the car is returned or sold and replaced with a motorbike.


Having returned to Kas, he stayed there for just two weeks, returning home last Friday evening.  After a few hours sleep he was back in Gumbet.  The to-ing and fro-ing seems ridiculous, but in one way he has just followed the money.  Finally, on his return home, he managed to pay the last of the money for the car.   So for once we won't have to drive on a motorbike into Milas, in the pouring rain in winter, and then struggle back with several bags of shopping.


So now he has between 20 and 30 days left to work in Gumbet before finishing for the winter. I doubt he will earn a huge amount of money during this time, but it will leave us in a much better position than previous winters.   He also plans to go to Istanbul to work for a couple of months when I return from my trip to England on 2nd November.  He wants to earn money for work that has to be done in the garden to make it more dog friendly.  Areas have to be cemented and a strong fence erected.


After this, his aim is to get out of tourism altogether.  If only his father would sign the tapu (deeds) of the house and land in the village over to us, then we could sell the land and set up a small business, which would give us some security for the future.  This is not going to happen...we have tried everything to persuade my father-in-law, but he won't be moved.  As always he has to be in control.


Mr A has a few ideas about how we could start a business which wouldn't involve a huge cash outlay, but these are just ideas at the moment, and it may mean that he needs to work for the whole winter in Istanbul to earn enough to make this possible.


The weather is slightly cooler at the moment, but humidity is still high, so it's uncomfortable.  There was some rain in Bodrum last night apparently, but unfortunately it missed us here.


A few days ago when I made my regular trip down to the village to feed the dogs, there were none around.  I spent nearly an hour searching for them without success.  I left food in different places hoping they would find it, but I was concerned and feared the worst.


Thankfully, wherever the dogs had disappeared to, they have returned.  This morning they were in the school playground as usual.  I am conscious of the fact that the children go back to school soon, and the dogs will be chased away....and this could well mean them having stones thrown at them, or worse, so this morning I spent time encouraging them out of the playground.   Gradually they came out and I put the food down away from the school.   This is quite a breakthrough, because the dogs are now beginning to trust me. 


I am currently getting through almost 20kg of dried dog food each week for my 9 rescues and the village dogs, together with around 4 kg of pasta, and 4 tins of wet food.  And I use olive oil in the food which I have discovered does wonders for dogs with skin disorders.  When Monty came to us, he had been on medication for his skin infection...it was very red, sore and itchy.  The medication didn't work, but since he has had olive oil in his food every day, his skin is now completely clear.


I also have vet bills to pay for flea treatments, worm tablets, and other things that crop up.   I am as always thankful for the donations I receive which enable me to continue to help as many dogs as possible.  I hope to start feeding the dogs on the industrial estate again in October, so of course any donations will be gratefully received.   Thankyou.


PS  I am having problems with commenting on other blogs at the moment.  Sometimes it's possible, and sometimes it's not.  Just letting my blogging friends know that I am still following your blogs, even though I don't always comment.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

This week....

....has been incredibly hot.  I think I said something in my last post about Autumn being just around the corner.  Well I take it back, as there is definitely no sign of it.


I am continuing to feed the village dogs every other day, and have to make sure I go down to the village and am back before 7am, because it gets hot so early.


Last week a lady called Sallyan from the animal rescue group Animal Antics in Ovacik, asked on Facebook if anyone was likely to be over near Milas as she had a few things to send to me to help with the dogs.


The request was answered by Susan, who lives in Fethiye.  She and her husband Mike, were to drive to Didim last Monday to transport a dog to a foster carer, until it was ready to go to it's new home in the UK in September.  They offered to bring the goodies to me.


At the same time. Sonia from Gokova Animal Rescue, said that she would also be sending me some things and would give them to Susan to bring.  I met Sonia when we went to collect Monty, and she has been very supportive.  She gives good advice, and has supplied me with worm tablets and food on occasion.   This time, not only did she send some useful items, but also a cash donation towards my winter feeding programme.


Susan and Mike arrived late Monday morning and delivered my parcels.  So many useful things, and such a help when I am trying to budget to make sure I can feed the dogs during the winter, which is the time they need it most.  (Susan took some photos of my 9 dogs, and when I receive them I will post them on my blog.  I think she is a much better photographer than I am, so am looking forward to seeing them)


Thankyou all of you for thinking of me, and the help you have provided.  There are some wonderful animal lovers in this country, and it is brilliant when groups help each other out.


This is also an opportunity for me to thank all the kind people who have donated to my fund since I first put a Paypal button on my blog.  The five people who donate by standing order every month giving me a regular income of £55...this is just so useful to me and helps me budget for food and vet fees.   But also to all the others who have donated, once or several times...every single penny is put to good use.   Many thanks to all of you.


And one more thankyou to my friend David, who has been such a help while Mr A is away.  David helped me by transporting Melek to the vet when she was spayed, and he regularly drives over from Mumcular to collect me from the village and take to Milas to collect the sacks of dog food, and my shopping.  I don't know how I would have managed without him.   Apart from that, he is great company and I enjoy our coffee and chats.


PS  I always thank donors by email.  Yesterday I received a donation from Jayne Crampton.  I emailed twice but it wasn't delivered, so I am hoping that she picks up this message on here.  Thankyou Jayne xx

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Sally, Dursune and cats

Mr A spoke again to the people who gave a home to Sally a week ago.  She is very happy.   She lives outside, and has immediately taken up the role of guard dog.  Unlike many dogs here that are kept on short chains, as Sally was before we rescued her, she now has the complete run of the enclosed garden.  Mr  A tells me it's about 4,000 sq.metres.  I have no idea when it comes to measuring areas, but it does sound pretty big to me.  So she has plenty of space.  They will shortly be taking her to be spayed and vaccinated.


Dursune on the left
I sometimes mention Dursune, my neighbour, in my blog.  She's a grumpy old woman most of the time.  We have had a few run-ins and shouting matches, but generally we get along reasonably well.  There are things I dislike about her, but I do like the fact that she cares for animals.  Perhaps not so well as we do, but certainly better than a lot of Turks.


She cared for her old donkey until it died and was very upset, as she also was when she could no longer manage to look after her two cows, and they had to go.  She is completely over-run with chickens, but they all look quite healthy.


Last year she had a cat in her yard that gave birth to kittens.  Some of them have gone elsewhere, but the mother remains, and a few of the kittens, who are now fully grown.  Dursune feeds them scraps, although she doesn't seem to eat much more than scraps herself, so it can be difficult.   Every time I go down to the village for bread she asks me to get some for her.  She never offers to pay, and I never ask.  It's cheap enough and I really don't mind.  If I am in Milas I usually bring her a couple of simits back.


She sometimes asks me for food...an onion, a tomato, some cheese, sugar, etc.  If I have it I give.  She never says thankyou, but it's just how she is.  I'm used to it.


I have been giving her chicken bones to feed the cats which they enjoy.  The dried dog food I get from my vet consists of very small biscuits, and often on my way down to feed the dogs in the village I come across cats, so I leave them some as well.


This morning Dursune told me she had nothing to feed her cats and asked if I had anything.  I gave her a bag of the biscuits and she was delighted.


And as she has no qualms about asking me for anything, I suspect that I will be supplying biscuits for the cats from now on.


I guess I should now edit my blog to include feeding cats as well as dogs, and maybe use this opportunity to ask for donations from any of you cat lovers out there.   The more money I can raise, the more dogs and cats I can feed.  October will soon be here when I will be starting up the daily feeding programme again for as many street animals as possible, so every little helps. (As usual you will find the Paypal button at the top of my blog....thankyou).

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Update

In my last post I told you how I managed to rescue Sally, the dog belonging to the sheep women, and that Mr A had managed to find her a new home in Milas.  He phoned them the following day and she had settled in OK.  We will be maintaining contact with them to make sure she continues to be happy in her new home.


I also mentioned that Mr A had returned home on Friday evening.  He had in fact left the job in Gumbet.  The reason being the usual one...a boss reluctant to pay.


Much as I would have preferred him to stay in the area, there was nothing else in Bodrum for him, so he decided to return to Kas, near Antalya, and continue to work there until the end of the season.  This means that I won't see him until the end of September at the earliest.  I'm not happy about this, but he has to earn money, so he has no choice but to go where he knows he will be paid.


I am continuing to feed the dogs down in the village.  I am now doing this every other day, to make sure I have enough food for them.  I think they are managing to find scraps as well, as they do not appear to be starving.


Sometimes I find them in the school playground, sometimes just outside the centre of the village, but occasionally I don't see them at all.  I leave the food where I know they will find it.   They are all still very scared.  I cannot approach them.  They keep their distance until I have left the food and walked away.


One puppy is limping.  Another female looks a little unwell.  But I can't get close enough to them to do anything about it.  If I approach, they run.   I have a feeling that they are constantly being chased away from the village.  No wonder they are frightened.


I'll continue feeding.  It's all I can do until Mr A returns.  I need him to organise rounding up and moving any dogs that need treatment to the Milas shelter.  Even then, it will be extremely difficult to manage if the dogs just run and hide when anyone approaches.  It's very frustrating, but I'm hoping in time I will gain their trust, and be able to at least flea and worm treat them.


My nine dogs at home are all fine.   Freddie had a slight ear infection earlier this week, but this has been cleared up with drops.  Tommy managed to escape from a window a few days ago, the only window that leads out to the road from the second bedroom.  He always jumps on the windowsills to bark at cats, people or sheep outside, but this time, the window was open and he had pushed the mosquito screen which landed outside on the ground, and he was off.   He ran up the hill behind the house.  I called him just once and he returned immediately.  No harm done, but this window will remain shut from now on!


The pups continue to grow and thrive.  They are three bundles of mischief.  Constantly play-fighting with each other, digging holes everywhere, and generally causing havoc.  They also eat far more than my four big dogs now.  They are very greedy!
Dave

Dave and Chas

Melek and Chas

Monty and Chas

Tommy

Mr A's first day in Kas...making friends with dogs as usual!



The weather has been very hot and humid, but for the first time at around 4am this morning I felt slightly chilly.   A very welcome sign that Autumn isn't too far away.

And that's all for now......